Monday, September 28, 2009

I Have Two Sons

I have two sons.

Perhaps, this comes as unexpected. Perhaps, it seems to come out of the blue even. But this morning I would like to take the time to clarify a bit of confusion I may have caused. But I stand ready to remedy that confusion.

Two recent events prompted this acknowledgement. Recently I had a conversation with a friend, and when I mentioned my oldest son, she seemed genuinely surprised. She stated that I had not mentioned him before. But I am almost sure I have; perhaps she just forgot.

And when on yesterday I was searching through my archives for something, I found frequent and detailed mentions of one son and only infrequent and cursory mentions of the other. But that does not mean that I favor one son over the other. Both sons are on my mind and in my heart continually. I am equally proud of each of them. But the one remains here at home with me. I see him daily, and he is constantly underfoot, so when I reach for material to write on, he often comes to mind.

But I love each son equally, however, for different reasons. Each represents a distinct period in my life, a distinct consciousness.

I fathered my first son when I was yet still very young, still in need of being raised myself. It’s funny how human development works. The human reproductive system often develops far ahead of the capacity to reason.

I marvel at my grandfather. He and my grandmother were married when they were in their early teens; this was not uncommon at the time. And from his early teens on, he was able to play the role of a man. He and my grandmother had six children, three boys and three girls, and with the little they had, they were able t raise six strong productive human beings and send them to college.

I was perhaps the same age as my grandfather when his first son was born when my oldest son was born. Perhaps because times had changed drastically, perhaps because I had the luxury of enjoying an adolescence, I wasn’t ready financially, mentally, maturely, or otherwise to be a father. And my mistakes, my lack of maturity, and my lack of depth of consciousness were repeated by my son. And I accept full responsibility for this.

However, just as I was able to do, he was able to pull it together in the end, and now he is an entrepreneur and business student living in Atlanta.

But my youngest son came at such a time that I had finally found myself. I possessed the financial means, the mental maturity, and the lived experience and consciousness requisite to being a good father. The way has no ways been completely smooth, however. Even know I must rethink my earlier positions and assumptions and relearn new ways of dealing with old problems.

The lesson to be taken away, though, is this: The student cannot progress beyond the knowledge and consciousness of the teacher. If our young men are running amok, if our young men are not living up to our expectations of them, then before we point an accusatory finger at them, we must stop to think and acknowledge our role in their development.

What examples are we setting? Are we actively and proactively seeking to influence their lives, to raise their consciousness, to change their worldview? Or are we content to sit back and point out and write and complain about their shortcomings, smug in our own psudeo-greatness, without offering ourselves up as part of the solution?

Whether they are close in proximity or far away, they are still our sons, and if they are to improve their situation, they must have and deserve our acknowledgement. And furthermore, they deserve our time and attention. What have you done today to improve the lives of our young men whether far away or right in the next room?

And let me remind you so you might now know. I have two sons. Two. And the eternal connection of the lifeblood that flows within is validated by the immense love and respect that flows between.


Invisible Woman said...

nice post, handsome sons :-)

Issa Rae said...

hahaha, Invisible Woman beat me to it. Handsome sons indeed.

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